Traditionally, mining companies in South Africa have been characterized by operating in a given region without any care of the social aspects of the community. The companies engaging in the mining activities exploit the land in the pursuit for extractive ores, dump wastes, expose hazardous ores and related components in the open, dump wastes in water sources and generally disrupt the ecosystem.
The companies finally exit the scene after fully exploiting and exhausting the economic value of the commonwealth. The community is not just left with the lack of economic value in terms of the minerals derived; environmental issues may accompany the trend. The full exploitation leads to the deprivation of the economic potential of the region.
Strategic plans guide Companies' operations in most instances. There has been a rising need to incorporate policies and measures whose aim is to compensate the negative impacts that the companies have had in their operations by improved contribution to the immediate societies.
Corporate social responsibility is achieved through activities conducted for the well-being of the society that are beyond the companys immediate needs collectively forming the corporate social responsibility initiatives. CSR is widely adopted as a way the companies employs to respond to the critical stakeholders needs and maximizing positive impacts which ultimately has the profound effect on the profitability of a corporation.
In the same context, there is the greater need for mining companies to initiate continued improvements to their operations while at the same time aiming towards sustainable development with the ultimate goal of enhancing shareholder value. The chief stakeholder in the mining industry may be seen as the communities who directly own the land or the general community around the mines that provide critical resources such as labor to the mines.
Jenkins & Obara in their paper, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the mining industry - the risk of community dependency discusses the interlink between companies in the mining sector and their customers and argues that inasmuch as the relationship has to be maintained, a proper mechanism has to be adopted to avoid dependence.
The ultimate objectives of CSR initiatives in this regard are to align the companys goals and practices with sustainable development. The final result was the guarantee of the continued good reputation of the business that is critical to the continued fortunes of the company.
For a long time, there has been the argument of whether companies should initiate corporate social responsibility initiatives or not. The role of CSR in both the businesses and the immediate communities has been the issue for scrutiny (Jenkins & Obara, n.d.). The study and application of CSR are of critical significance to the development of the coexistence and other mutual regards. The fundamental question is: do companies contribute adequately to the sustainable development of the immediate communities?
In the present times, it is hard to estimate the impact of corporate social responsibility on the communities. There has been a sustained debate as to whether companies should adopt CSR in their operations or not. All perspectives point to the fact that the consumer well receives the initiatives and that they are in the stakeholders interests. The consumers appreciate the caring gesture advanced in the form of CSR initiatives, and this is instrumental in building better customer relations.
The need for corporate social responsibility is influenced by the need for companies to understand the behaviors of their customers. As noted, the communities around the environment and the customers form the chief stakeholders of the companies. Customers will hence tend to endear themselves with the companies that appreciate. CSR comes into play to distinguish companies in the context of how best their corporate social responsibility initiatives are implemented. In this regard, CSR the question shifts from if the companies should invest a portion of their income to CSR; to how should companies best participate in communities in terms of viable initiatives.
According to "The Mining, Minerals, and Sustainable Development Project" (MMSD) report titled:
Breaking New Ground (2002), the authors describes some three different categories of the various communities and that they are categorized as occupational types, residential communities, and indigenous communities. In this context, the professional communities are defined as households or families who solely depend on mining for their livelihood. Residential communities comprise of those who reside in the immediate neighborhood and who could have lived in the area for a long time into the past or those who moved in recently. The final category is the indigenous communities.
The selection of the thematic area was based on the impacts that mining companies have on the immediate environment that has forced them into conflict with the local authorities and communities. The assessment of the injection of CSR initiatives gives a clear understanding of the impact and mirrors the companies resolve to involve in more sustainable projects for the immediate communities.
This thesis discusses corporate citizenry in the context of mining in South Africa. The subject has evolved in both meaning and significance in the region over the years as influenced by various factors in the wider nation. The economic, social and environmental significance of mining activities to the country makes corporate social responsibility an indispensable component of the companies. The concept gained greater adoption in the 1980s, and it was attained in the means of various frameworks. This thesis aims to compare the frameworks used by companies in the 1980s with the frameworks currently in use today in order to draw meaningful conclusions.
The development of corporate social responsibility frameworks realized from the study gives a critical insight in how best to implement future initiatives for the wellbeing of the community.
JustificationThere have been various CSR frameworks adopted by different companies for the past 30 years. It is critical to study them and understand their impact and their overall significance both to the companies and to the communities.
There have been many companies engaging in or showing interest in the mining sector in South Africa. At the same instance, there has been the need to assess the level of engagement with the local communities. Companies should show proof that they have the interests of all the stakeholders at heart; and that their operations are not driven by profits only. This has influenced the need to assess the methods and ways in which different companies have used to show proof of taking part in CSR initiatives.
Over time, companies have come under fire for poor treatment of the workers, poor working and living conditions for the mine workers, poor wages, and related bad impressions. The result is the risk posed to the companys fortunes and the risk to face censure. There has been growing human rights campaign urging companies to provide better conditions for the staff and the community who for a significant portion of the overall stakeholders. All the efforts adopted may be seen to constitute corporate social responsibility initiatives as they address the stakeholders needs directly. Inasmuch as the companies have strived to ensure that the objectives are met, there is room for improvement. The study of the consistent growth in CSR initiatives among companies from the 1980s to present ascertains this as true.
It is critical to appreciate the finiteness of the mining industry and the results, mostly negative, which remains after the conclusion of the mining activities. The role of companies in ensuring that the negative impacts are reduced and that there is lesser environmental and social damage at the end of the mining activities has been a critical subject over the years.
The mining industry is the chief revenue earner in South Africa and a key contributor to the economic position of the country. The industry overly employs a large number of people and in the same instance have a lot of direct social, economic and environmental impacts. It is critical to appreciate the overall CSR strategies employed in the mining sector and the differences in the frameworks adopted in the 1980s and today. An explicit comparison gives a clear picture on how the companies values CSR and the overall significance.
The relationship between the older times of the mining industry and the current times in the context of CSR brings to question the actual value derived from CSR initiatives adopted and the level of the benefit to either side. The question of whether CSR is pursued the economic advantage of the companies or if there has been a focus on ethical and moral aspects pertaining mining is one of the most argued.CSR is increasingly becoming the link between then companies and the stakeholders and a signal towards sustainability.
The concept of sustainability, as seen, is at the cornerstone of CSR. Companies should aim at leaving the communities in a better position to face the future. The past three decades have seen companies move from non-association with the society to the present association. The evolution is of great si...
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